[PHNUTR-L] A little wine boosts omega-3 in the body: Researchers
find a novel mechanism for a healthier heart
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Fri Dec 5 15:23:42 PST 2008
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Public release date: 4-Dec-2008
Contact: Americo Bonanni
bonanni at filemazio.net
A little wine boosts omega-3 in the body: Researchers find a novel
mechanism for a healthier heart
Results from the European study IMMIDIET show that moderate wine intake
is associated with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids considered as
protective against coronary heart disease
Moderate alcohol intake is associated with higher levels of omega-3
fatty acids in plasma and red blood cells. This is the major finding of
the European study IMMIDIET that will be published in the January issue
of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, an official publication
of the American Society for Nutrition and is already available on line
(www.ajcn.org ). The study suggests that wine does better than other
alcoholic drinks. This effect could be ascribed to compounds other than
alcohol itself, representing a key to understand the mechanism lying
behind the heart protection observed in moderate wine drinkers.
The IMMIDIET study examined 1,604 citizens from three geographical
areas: south-west London in England, Limburg in Belgium and Abruzzo in
Italy. Thanks to a close cooperation with General Practitioners of these
areas, all participants underwent a comprehensive medical examination,
including a one year recall food frequency questionnaire to assess their
dietary intake, alcohol consumption included.
Omega-3 fatty acids, mainly derived from fish, are considered as
protective against coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death, thus
their high blood concentration is definitely good for our health.
Now European researchers found that moderate alcohol drinking acts like
a 'trigger', boosting the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in our body.
"Several studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption, including
wine, is associated with protection against coronary heart disease and
ischemic stroke - says Romina di Giuseppe, lead author of the study,
from the Research Laboratories at Catholic University of Campobasso -
Although the mechanisms are not completely defined, there was some
evidence that alcohol intake might influence the metabolism of essential
polyunsaturated fatty acids, as omega-3. That is exactly what we found
in our population study. People drinking moderate amounts of alcohol,
one drink a day for women and two for men, had higher concentration of
omega-3 fatty acids in plasma and red blood cells independently of their
However important these results appear to be, the best is yet to come.
Researchers from Catholic University of Campobasso, in Italy, and from
University of Grenoble, in France, turned their attention on the variety
of alcoholic beverages consumed in order to see whether the high levels
of omega-3 fatty acids detected might be ascribed to alcohol itself or
to other substances.
"From our previous studies we know that association between wine
drinking and increased concentration of omega-3 fatty acids have been
observed – says Michel de Lorgeril, from the University of Grenoble,
partner of the IMMIDIET project and co-leader of the study -
Nevertheless, it was not possible to separate the effects of wine from
those of beer or spirits. Our study of 3 populations with different
dietary habits and different consumption of alcoholic beverages types
allowed us to explore this aspect.".
"Analysis carried out on different alcoholic beverages –argues Licia
Iacoviello coordinator of the IMMIDIET study at Catholic University of
Campobasso - showed that the association between alcohol and omega-3
fatty acids was present in both wine drinkers and beer or spirits
drinkers. However, the association was stronger between wine drinking
and omega-3 fatty acids levels. This suggests that components of wine
other than alcohol is associated with omega-3 fatty acids concentration.
We may guess this effect can be ascribed to polyphenols".
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds contained in a different
variety of food and beverages, such as wine. Due to their strong
antioxidant activity, they are able to reduce oxidation processes caused
by free radicals.
"We consider these data to be a major finding - de Lorgeril concludes -
opening a new window in the field of cardiovascular prevention. Beyond
the alcohol issue, our results raise crucial questions regarding the
effects of polyphenols on lipids (both in blood and cell membranes) and
possibly of lipids on polyphenols".
The IMMIDIET study
Funded by the European Union under Key Action 1: Food, Nutrition and
Health QLK1-CT-2000-00100, IMMIDIET aims to acquire fundamental
knowledge in the field of cardiovascular disease, especially regarding
the interaction between genetics and lifestyle.
At the core of the study there is an important episode of Italian
migration: Belgium, a country that became the new home for thousands of
Italians, mostly from the Abruzzo region, who came to work in the mines.
Many of those emigrants didn't come back to Italy but remained in their
new country. Some of them married a Belgian partner. Their genes
remained the same, of course, but how much "Italy" is still there in
their diet? And how much did they transmit it to their spouses?
Moreover, how many Italian emigrants assimilate dietary habits of the
country in which they were guests? In this framework, the role of
genetic factors and lifestyle can be assessed to explore new ways in
prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
To carry on the research, married couples have been recruited in three
European areas: South-East London in England, Limburg in Belgium and
Abruzzo in Italy. In the first phase of the study the couples involved
were formed by people from the same area, Italians married with Italians
(in the Abruzzo region), Belgians married with Belgians (in the Limburg
area) and English married with English (in the South-East part of London)".
The second phase of IMMIDIET recruited mixed Italian–Belgian couples to
understand if, acquiring dietary habits from Abruzzo, the Belgian
partner changed his own risk regarding heart diseases.
Laboratory of Genetic and Environmental Epidemiology, Research
Laboratories, "John Paul II" Center for High Technology Research and
Education in Biomedical Sciences, Catholic University, Campobasso - Italy
Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, Katholieke Universiteit,
Leuven - Belgium
Department of General Practice, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven - Belgium
Francesco P. Cappuccio
Clinical Sciences Research Institute, University of Warwick Medical
School, Coventry – United Kingdom
Pieter C. Dagnelie
Department of Epidemiology, NUTRIM Subdivision of Nutritional
Epidemiology, Maastricht University - The Netherlands
Michel de Lorgeril
Nutrition Vieillissement et Maladies Cardiovasculaires, UFR de Medecine,
La Tronche, Grenoble - France
Nutritional Epidemiology Unit, National Cancer Institute, Milan - Italy
Unit of Epidemiology and Population Genetics, Institute of Food Sciences
CNR, Avellino - Italy
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
"Ask the Parkinson Dietitian" http://www.parkinson.org/
"Eat well, stay well with Parkinson's disease"
"Parkinson's disease: Guidelines for Medical Nutrition Therapy"
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